Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Defense

James Renner is an author from the Akron, Ohio area. He wrote a book, "Amy: My Search for Her Killer". For those that do not know, Amy Mihaljevic was a 10-year old girl that was abducted and killed roughly 20 years ago in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Mr. Renner's book, published in 2006, detailed his efforts to find Amy's killer.

In a recent issue (November 2008) of "Scene Magazine", Mr. Renner targets my uncle as Amy's killer. Mr. Renner's conclusion is based on circumstantial evidence. He will not acknowledge or mention three key facts: 1) My uncle passed an FBI-adminstered polygraph test. 2) My uncle provided DNA to law enforcement officials several years ago. 3) My uncle has not been arrested. Law enforcement officials stated there have been "thousands" of suspects. Furthermore, local law enforcement officials were quoted as saying, "his (Mr. Renner's) article does a disservice to the investigation." Mr. Renner will not allow facts to get in the way of a story.

If I were an author, I would make sure I was 100% certain before I accused someone of the most heinous of crimes. I would not say anything if I had any doubt whatsoever about my conclusion. Does Mr. Renner not understand the impact his accusation has on the accused and his family? Regardless, Mr. Renner's recent post to his blog states his indictment of my uncle is mostly circumstantial. He calls anyone that has favorable comments about my uncle a "fan club". Does that sound like a jounalist truly interested in the truth? He has made his decision and is no longer interested in counter points of view. That does not sound like the actions of a person only interested in finding Amy's killer.

Mr. Renner has fingered "prime suspects" previously. Since he has a new one, his previous epiphanies were obviously wrong. His track record would then suggest he has no credibility. His lack of credibility is further supported by there being no arrests of any of his "prime suspects". He continually throws mud against a wall, hoping something eventually sticks. He has now become the little boy that cried wolf.

So what would Mr. Renner's other motives be? He has a book for sale. Any publicity he can garner will certainly increase book sales. Mr. Renner has a clip on his MySpace page where he kisses another man on national television just to get attention. Could Mr. Renner be so intent on seeking attention that he will do or say anything that gets his name and/or likeness in the public eye?

My take: Mr. Renner is a young author/writer/mini-film producer trying to make his mark in the industry. But when you haphazardly injure other people in the process, you lose all credibility. The lack of credibility is a poor resume builder in Mr. Renner's profession.


Jason said...

There is so much to say about this. My best friend and I were contacted by Mr. Renner and asked several questions. We answered truthfully, and our statements were ignored. We both posted comments on his blogspot that contradicted much of what Renner was saying...but he refused to post the comments. My friend and I knew your uncle very well, I'd say much more than most of the people leaving their two cents about all of this. We both had him as a teacher, aided him, stayed after school, worked by cleaning the zoo, and continued a friendship through our 20's until Dean finally moved on. I can honestly say without bias, that I cannot remember one single innaporpriate conversation, comment, or situation in all of my years knowing Mr. Runkle.

Some of the Morning Journal and Renner blogspot posts by former students are ridiculous. There are a lot of kids with poor memories or embellished recollections.

50% of his students lived in fear of him? Really? Because out of all my friends that had him, none of them had anything negative to say. I'm also tired of people saying "being a good teacher does not make you innocent"...etc..etc..
Dean was beyond a good teacher, he is a role model for countless youth, and an incredible person.

It is mindblowing that any of the media would publish this nonsense with such lack of proof or content.
I fully agree with you on the "witch hunt" and that Renner has zero credibility after naming several other suspects.

So please, if you have any way of reaching your uncle. Tell him that he has many friends behind him, perhaps more than he thinks. And we will continue to support him and stand up for him through all of this.
-Jason Shaffer

Been Around said...

I am sure Dean will be thrilled to hear his former students thought so highly of him. I'm glad so many people got to know the person I have known my whole life